This document supplements the Montana State University Graduate Catalog.
The Master of Science degree in statistics at Montana State University gives students a solid background in the theory of statistics and hands-on practice in the application of statistics to real problems. Students in this program prepare either for further graduate work or for academic, industrial, business, or government employment. Upon entrance, each student meets with the department's Graduate Program Committee to discuss career objectives and first year course work. During the second semester in the program each student forms a Graduate Committee and, with that committee, builds an outline of the courses to be taken. The prerequisites for the master's degree program in statistics consist of the following semester courses or their equivalent: Multivariable Calculus (MATH 224), Linear Algebra (MATH 333 or MATH 441), Probability (STAT 421), and Mathematical Statistics (STAT 422). Students who have not completed these courses may still enter the master's program. It is suggested that these courses then be taken after enrolling.
Either Plan A (thesis and 20 credits of course work) or Plan B (30 credits of course work) can be chosen. In either case, all courses on a graduate program must be numbered 400 or higher, and STAT courses must be numbered 410 or higher. The specific program of study depends on the student's previous training and experience. Regardless of the plan chosen, (i) at least half of the required non-thesis credits must be STAT courses, (ii) at least two-thirds of the required non-thesis credits must be numbered 500 or higher, and (iii) the following 14 semester core course credits are required:
Statistics M.S. Required Courses (14 semester credits)
- STAT 501-502 Intermediate Math Stat - 6 credits (prerequisite: STAT 422)
- STAT 505-506 Linear Stat Models - 6 credits (prerequisites: MATH 333, STAT 422, & 410)
- STAT 510 Statistical Consulting - 1 credit, twice for a total of 2 credits
- The M.S. degree requires completion of either a thesis or a writing project.
- Thesis (Plan A): The Plan A thesis typically requires 450-500 hours of work. The student must register for at least 10 thesis credits (STAT 590) in addition to the required 20 credits of course work. The student must give an oral defense of his/her thesis.
- Writing Project (Plan B): The Plan B writing project typically requires at least 90 hours of work, for which the student earns 1 or 2 credits of STAT 575. With permission from the student's committee, additional credits of STAT 575 (no more than 4 total) may be earned. The student must give a seminar on the writing project before graduating.
- For either Plan A or Plan B, the student must pass a comprehensive examination. .
M.S. Comprehensive Exam
The M.S. comprehensive exam is given in late August during the week before Fall Semester classes begin (the specific date will be determined by the department). It consists of two components: a timed component covering material from the four core classes, Stat 501, 502, 505, and 506, and a 24-hour take-home component involving data analysis.
The exam is graded as one of the following: PhD pass, M.S. pass, or fail. Examinees will be informed of the results within three working days of taking the exam.
A second attempt at passing the MS comprehensive exam is allowed if the first attempt did not result in a pass. At the discretion of the student's committee, an oral exam over the MS course work may be required.Copies of old exams are available only to people on math department computers.